Military stories from past to present, both wars.

“Virtual Leadership 101”

April 16th, 2007 Posted in The SandGram v1.0

“Virtual Leadership 101”
Dear Gang,
This letter comes from the bowls of my old computer emails, filed under “DumbSh**.” I was on recruiting duty with the Officer in question and have about six months worth of material just on this guy alone. Normally I change the names to protect the guilty, but in this case, the offender will remain so named but the Lt’s involved have been altered. For all of you young Officers out there, remember that emails have the half life of an atom, so be careful of what you write…it may come back to bite you one day. In this case, Barrett, is on his own sheet of music, hence his “virtual embarrassment.” Here is the flow of the long chain letter that was sent around the world about seven years ago. Since the original letter was so long, you will see references to start at the bottom. I cleaned it up and put it in order so that you can read the true flow of events. The first two comments from some senior Marines kind of say it all, after that I will post this young Lt’s email in the order that it happened and the reply from Captain (now a Major) Barrett. Then you will see the reactions of MANY Marines to this chain of email based off a simple question. Anything I add will be in parentheses.

{This is one of two original comments that was on the forwards, which reached me.}


I’m sort of at a loss on this one. Some of you (youngsters) know Capt Barrett, the CO in this chain of emails. Many of you have been CO’s at this point. I won’t impune Capt Barrett here, but I have to ask why this sort of thing is going on via email. Does anyone LEAD in person anymore or is it down to this? Next, do people understand that emails can easily get forwarded around the whole Corps and outside? This is embarrassing to me a Marine, as an officer, and as an Infantryman. Capt Barrett ought to use a little more discretion in his leadership of his Lieutenants as well as some patience and tact. Mutual respect goes a long way with subordinates, officer or enlisted. Mark, I think you and I once joked about “Virtual Leadership”, this is the first solid evidence I seen of it in action. The request for “Poll” responses is particular degrading, I mean, how insecure can you be to need reinforcement from the entire internet? Strange and pathetic. How long before this gets into the Marine Mail?

(Another Officer puts his two cents worth in}

I thought you two would enjoy this… read the bottom e-mails first and then work back… If you weren’t in Charlie Co, you’ll only appreciate this for it’s stereo-typical grunt attitude – Damn the man, ask questions!! – what happened to the only stupid question is the one not asked? On the other hand for all you non-infantry types. In six and a half years as a grunt, I truly only met a handful of Hard-cases like this! The common sense in question belongs to whatever brain-child let this e-mail out to the general public. It also questions “what, if any, lesson is young Mr. Herr learning by being degraded throughout the inter-net.

—–Original Message—– From: Herr 1stLt D Sent:Friday, October 13, 2000 11:57 AM To: House Maj Chris

Subject: Suggestion Sir, A topic that has come up while here in Fuji is field orders. Our question is why is our pay checked when we go on deployment. We are charged for every meal whether or not we eat it or not. This year alone, I personally have been to Fuji three times, JWTC two times, and Korea once. This totals between six and seven months of deployment time. My pay was checked for each one of these deployments for chow that I ate or did not eat. This takes a large chunk of money out of each paycheck. Per deployment, my pay has been checked twice as much for chow myself than I would normally spend a month for both myself and my wife plus I still need to feed my wife while I am gone. The question is: Why do we get our pay checked on deployment for chow and other such items while other services are given pay for their meals and other such items? Lt Herr sends…..

Original Message—– From: House Maj Chris Sent: Friday, October 13, 2000 1:29 PM To: Herr 1stLt ; Barrett Capt Craig A;

Subject: RE: Suggestion The stock answer is that you receive BAS or ComRats while in garrison IOT pay for meals outside the chow hall. This is to compensate an individual for costs he would not incur if he subsisted at the dining facility or otherwise at the cost of the govt. BAS/ComRats is not, and never was, intended to pay for your spouse to eat. Basic pay covers that, much as your father’s salary paid for you, your siblings, and mother to eat. I agree that it is galling to be checked for meals that you don’t eat, but then again, there are only a couple of options. One method is to have a Marine pay for each meal as it is issued to him. This creates a huge headache IOT comply with funds accountability and auditing requirements along with being very impractical. Of course, we could have all the Marines “pay as they go”. Certainly no Marine will have trouble coming up with the exact change for his meals prior to the field op, just as they never lose a canteen, always have all their uniform items ready (remember the clothing allowance), and certainly save enough cash to have plenty on-hand to set-up a household and buy cars when they first reach Oki. I do not know of any service that pays their service members for eating in the field. Of course, you can point to the Air Force who has their personnel purchase MREs in the commissary for field ops. This is more a function of poor leadership and punting the responsibility of ensuring their personnel are adequately fed than it is one of “taking care” of them. Of course, when they actually deploy to a no-kidding remote part of the world, the very few who are not billeted in 4 star hotels have their pay checked for 3 meals a day. Which then, in many cases becomes a haphazard affair. What for you is inconvenient and seemingly unjust in many other cases is the only way to ensure that Marines; 1)Actually have chow to eat, 2)Have chow to eat that has some semblance of nutritional value, 3)Provides an efficient method to affect items 1 and 2 above for large numbers of personnel (imagine collections done throughout a Division in Somalia). The PersO and SuppO can give you chapter and verse on the MCOs. There are other methods than those I have mentioned. I haven’t even begun to cover the convoluted procedures for when you are embarked upon a naval vessel, when your mess bill will routinely exceed your BAS. Your Company Commander and XO can likely give you some insight as well. XO

(Sounds pretty simple right? Well now here comes Leadership 101 from our fearless leader Barrett)

—–Original Message—– From: Barrett Capt Craig A To: Howie 2ndLt G; Herr 1stLt ; Sprad 2nd Lt. ; Hohoa 1st Lt ; Greenly 1stLt Sent: 10/16/00 7:02 AM

Subject: FW: Suggestion Lieutenants, Everyone counsel Lt Herr that by asking the Bn XO directly a question about ComRats and/or BAS it has solidified the following in Major House’s mind:
1-one, that Lt Herr has no faith/loyalty to his own chain of command
2-two, that after Lt Herr deployed twice to Fuji, twice to JWTC, and once to Korea (over a period of twelve months) he must be severely lacking moral courage if it took him so long to have enough ball sack to finally ask the question
3-three, that he’s a dumbass I don’t know if his actions are funny or sad but it clearly proves my theory that today’s Marines may be more intelligent but they don’t have any common sense. Its like being a tech shop manager at the Motorola Corporation and then going outside your shop, outside your department to the Vice President of Operations and asking “Sir, why is there static on radios”. Hey, you don’t have to use your Co XO, if you want to be regarded as a tool by your peers, laughed at during Bn social events, and have stories told ab
out you long after you leave the unit for the stupid shit you did, e-mail the Bn XO directly, hell try the Commandants e-mail address. Capt Barrett sends…

From: Herr 1stLt Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2000 10:27 AM To: Barrett Capt Craig A; How 2ndLt; Sprad 2nd Lt.; Hohah 1st Lt; Greenly 1stLt

Subject: RE: Suggestion Sir, To readdress the question that I asked the BN XO, I would like to first say that I did not go outside of my chain of command and I do not consider myself to be a dumbass. An e-mail was sent out by the BN XO asking Marines to suggest questions that the BN CO could take to the Commanders’ Program back in Quantico and address in the per group questions. The question that I asked was a topic of conversation here in Fuji and it was suggested to me by the 1stSgt to ask the question. So I did. Have I been places and done things since I have been on island? Yes. Have I asked the question before? Yes. Do I believe that it was a stupid question? No, considering no one here could give me a solid answer. If my loyalty/faith is in question, than so be it, but when given the opportunity to ask the question, I did. If it is assumed that I have no faith or loyalty, than let people talk about me. I have worked at the Commanders’ Program so when the BN XO asked for suggestions from the Marines in the BN, I took a suggestion of a Marine here in Fuji and asked the question. R/S
1stLT Herr

—–Original Message—– From: Barrett Capt Craig A Sent: Thursday, October 19, 2000 7:58 AM To: Herr 1stLt and a list of about 20 Lt’s

Subject: RE: Suggestion Dear dumbass, No where in your original e-mail does it state you are providing information for the Cmdrs Conference. This is probably why the Bn XO wondered aloud why you would come directly to him to ask this question. Additionally, thank the XO for his time, say Respectfully submitted, something… I mean he’s only a Major with 15 years in the Marine Corps in zone for LtCol for Christ sake. Why not utilize your chain of command to forward your question? From you to your Composite Co CO or from you to your actual CO. Do you lack loyalty or faith? My point remains that if you cannot utilize your chain of command than you are demonstrating a lack of loyalty or lack of faith in them. Major Burke and I are unaware of any previous Comrat/BAS questions to date. Now in my first e-mail these were suggestions, guidance if you will. Let me make it plain to you, since you don’t understand, if you correspond directly with the Bn XO again, I’ll kill you. I’ll poll all those in the Cc block to see to determine if Was his e-mail inappropriate: Yes or No Does his actions categorize him as a tool: Yes or No Does his actions categorize him as a dumb ass: Yes or No Will you use him as an example for years to come: Yes or No Please send your response directly to Lt Herr and Cc me. Capt Barrett sends…

(these are comments from the many forwards of this email)

Subject: Faith in the chain of command and the US/Them mentality…

Check out this motivator! I think the CO makes it clear why his Lt wouldn’t want to use the chain of command. Ouch! I love how the COs CC list grows with each reply. Feel free to fill out the poll and forward it to Capt Barrett. They are keeping a tally until the end of the month. Start at the bottom and work your way up. Chris
Gents- This is a copy of e-mail correspondence between an engineer and his Co XO. These guys are on the island with us (Lt Greenly is in the Cc: block). This message is coming to me from Jen, so obviously this message is making it’s rounds in the Marine Corps. Unbelievable….

CHARLIE COMPANY OCS GRADS: Guys, you have to read this e-mail. Remember Captain Barrett and how he was at OCS? Well apparently he is no different in the fleet. This one is awesome.
***********BE SURE TO READ FROM THE BOTTOM UP!!!!!!************
One can only hope that this is some sort of twisted joke.
S/F, Capt Schmidt : FW: FW: for all us one bars…

This is a little bit long but if you start at the bottom it is a real interesting read. I think there must be a big difference in leadership philosophy between the Ground Guys and us. Mike

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